Speak to children about the future
Inde - Nanban

As a young boy, James S. has experienced what it means to live on the streets of India. By creating the association Nanban - which means "friend" in Tamil - he wants to give children and young people facing extreme poverty and who are living on the street on another opportunity in their life. But above all being able to take early action in order support children "at risk" and also their parents. Here is the article published in the Deccan Chronicle by Mr Nizar Ahamed.

Bewildered, defenseless and impoverished – children who have lost their parents probably don't have much of a future to talk about. It is not only orphans. Children who run away from home because of a variety of problems also face a terrible and uncertain future.

Organisations like the Nanban Trust help and rehabilitate these children, says S. Tamil Selvam, the Trust's program coordinator. “Children who have lost their parents or those running away from home because they are tortured by parents, or because they are unable to cope with the pressure of studies, can be found on the streets of Madurai – some even come here from other cities. Many of them can be found working in hotels because they can get food and a place to stay; other places are the railway station and bus stand.

We round up these children and talk to them – try to solve their problems and hand them over to their parents. In case they have no support, we send them to the government-run Child Welfare Committee, which takes care of them and their education.”

Rishab (16) of Rajasthan ran away from torture. “I ran away from my home when I was 13 years old because my father used to beat me whenever he consumed alcohol. I just left my place and came here without any specific idea. I saw a few people making statues on the road, went up to them and asked whether they would take me with them – they were also from Rajasthan. They gave me a place to stay and food to eat.”

Khali Hassain (14) is from Hyderabad. “I don't have parents. I was living on the platform when a person there asked me to work for him selling “panipuri”. I agreed and we came to Madurai. I sell “panipuri” in front of schools. When I see the school children, I feel so bad and I get moody at times. I can only curse fate, for compelling me to work and earn my own living.”

James S. – Nanban - India